What Do We Treat?
Low Back Pain
Lower back and pelvic pain is often the most common presenting complaint in a chiropractic clinic. The British Chiropractic Association carried out a survey in 2004 that showed that 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It can affect people of any age, from teenagers to pensioners. In fact, it is the third most common complaint in patients aged 75 and older 1.
There are many causes of lower back pain for example bad posture, sedentary lifestyle, lifting injuries and degenerative changes to name a few. Symptoms can range from acute pain (sudden onset and severe pain) to chronic pain (long lasting or recurrent). Low back pain is not the only symptom of a low back complaint. Aching, stiffness, tightness, leg pain, pins and needles, tingling, numbness and weakness can also indicate a problem in the lower back2.
Many studies show that chiropractic is effective in the treatment of acute (sudden onset and severe) and chronic (long lasting or recurrent) lower back pain. One study in particular found that 83% of patients reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their chiropractic care for low back pain.
Leg Pain and Sciatica
There are many causes of leg pain, one of which is entrapment or compression of the spinal nerves as they exit the lumbar spine. When the sciatic nerve is compressed it is called sciatica. Nerve entrapment accounts for less than 5% of back pain. Leg pain can extend as far as the buttock, knee or all the way to the foot. Occasionally leg pain can be present without any back pain although the cause of the pain can still be the lower back. Chiropractic is successful in the treatment of leg pain caused by nerve compression as well as referred pain from the lower back.
Neck and Arm Pain
Neck and arm pain can be classified into mechanical pain (caused by the muscles, ligaments and joints and how they function) or nerve root pain (caused by entrapment or compression of the spinal nerves as they leave the spinal cord). Common causes of neck pain include poor posture especially whilst sitting at a desk or using the computer, sleeping on your front with the head turned to one side, and stress or tension. Chiropractic is effective in the treatment of neck pain as well as well as helping to address the cause of the complaint.
Headaches and Migraines
There are many different types of headaches and many different causes. Migraines can be triggered by hormonal changes, certain food and stress. In some cases migraines can be triggered by dysfunction of the joints in the neck and irritation to the nervous system. In these cases chiropractic treatment can help to improve joint function and reduce nerve irritation and therefore reduce the frequency of the migraines and sometimes stop them completely. Other headaches, such as tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches, may also be caused by dysfunction of the joints of the spine, irritation of the nervous system and muscle tension and chiropractic treatment can help to correct this.
Neck pain and the symptoms of a whiplash injury are common even following a minor car accident. The average head weighs between 4-5 kg and is suspended on a thin neck. During a car accident the head is thrown forwards and backwards exerting significant stress on the muscles, ligaments and joints of the neck causing injury and pain. Often whiplash injuries can cause prolonged pain and discomfort with symptoms varying from neck and arm pain, pins and needles in the arm, headaches and dizziness. Sometimes the symptoms can have a delayed onset, sometimes even months after the original injury. Early chiropractic treatment can help significantly to resolve the symptoms and restore function to the muscles, ligaments and joints.
Shoulder and Elbow Pain
A chiropractor can help with treatment and advice regarding the management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis and Golfer's Elbow, and other causes of elbow, wrist and arm pain. Chiropractic can also help with various types of shoulder pain from Tendonitis to Frozen Shoulder. Often shoulder pain can be caused by a problem in the neck and upper back which after examination, a chiropractor will be able to identify.
Hip and Knee Pain
Chiropractic can help significantly with hip and knee pain. The symptoms of hip and knee osteoarthritis can sometimes be reduced with chiropractic treatment by improving joint function and range of motion. Other causes of hip and knee pain such as muscle strains, ligament strains and minor meniscus injuries can also be helped.
Chiropractic can help with sports injuries such as ankle sprains, pulled muscles and many more complaints caused by sporting injuries whether acute or chronic. Performance may also be improved by improving joint function and reducing nervous system irritation.
Children & Babies
- 1. Koch H, Smith M. Office-based ambulatory care for patients 75 years old and over, national ambulatory medical care survey. Advance data from vital and health statistics. National Center for Health Statistics, No. 110. DHHS Pub. No. 85-1250 (110), 1985: Pages 1–14.
- 2. Gaumer G. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 29, Issue 6, 2006: Pages 455 - 462.